Quantum Leap: What If We Could Change The Past - What Would You Do Differently?
It was just another ordinary day, today. I got up at stupid o’clock in the morning, and the moment it was light enough, sauntered across the Novemberly frozen, misted fields of Hackney Marsh, before 8 am; before going home to a breakfast of precisely 2 bowls of hot Super Noodles, and a tot of whisky; before getting into writing mode.
It was there, sitting in front of my screen, that I was able to consolidate my thoughts. For a start, that once upon a time, I was supposed to be a grown-up. Instead, as the reality of middle age descended on me, I was now a teenager, going into reverse, and experiencing the second Great Depression of my lifetime. Which is, precisely, what has been happening, for some months and years, up until recently - ever since my 40s, began. They say that astrological patterns have something to do with it; having looked at those patterns, filled me with an even greater sense of foreboding, and revulsion.
The first time around (puberty/ adolescence), I had been mentally depressed - acutely, for at least 14 years - but somehow physically, functioning. Despite the fact that my mother was obviously going through the menopause at the same time, and was granted the allowance of being able to stay in bed all day with depression, the same allowance was not granted to myself. My parents would bodily drag me out of bed, if perchance I would happen to say, that I just wanted to stay there for the time being.
The second time around (menopause), there have been times that I have had such bad depression, that it has impeded functionality. I have not been able to rise from my bed for weeks without sickness; I have gone for months with zero sleep whatsoever (and then had to catch up on sleep, later down the line). Which has been, up to precisely, now.
What could I do, to cheer myself up? I could either cheer myself up, or die. It was going to be one, or the other. Which one, was it going to be?
I remembered, years ago, having read about Kate Bush’s description of depression - where she - not unlike myself over the last years - had gone through bereavement. I seemed to remember something she said, about constantly watching “bad daytime TV”. At that time, I thought, how can someone so talented, be spending their days watching bad daytime TV? But, as has been borne out - you’ll never know it, until you’ve experienced it for yourself.
I had been through various court cases this year, with more to come, and was very tired. I, personally, like to vet my TV, and the sort of stuff I watch, to make sure it doesn't impinge on my soul too much. I’m a pretty sensitive plant, and too much visual stimulation and disturbance, makes me, well, disturbed.
The trouble was, that my taste in entertainment had previously been very inclined to drama, with a tortuous element. Think Stepford Wives (the original 1970s version); think Kane and Abel (with Peter Strauss, and Sam Neill); think Ivanhoe (1982) - also with Sam Neill (gorgeous), and James Mason (brilliant as Isaac); think Peter the Great, with Maximilian Schell (also gorgeous); think, the Klaus Kinski/ Werner Herzog movies. Yet, all of this filmography, was very, very serious; it wasn’t pulling me out of my funk.
Then, I had a brainwave, and one of these “I wonder what happened to…” moments. Yes. I thought: “Whatever happened to Quantum Leap?”
Once upon a time, I was a teenager, and there was a TV show called Quantum Leap (which ran from 1989-1993 - bear in mind, I was born in 1974).
My mother was a big fan; I also watched it fervently - and yet, I used to diss it incessantly. Partly, because the older generation liked it; perhaps, it was the “vintage American” themes which played throughout, which I was trying to tell myself were “uncool”. Perhaps, I guess, I just couldn’t get over the fact that I liked it so damn much - and that, as a young and awkward teenager, I had a huge, ginormous crush on Scott Bakula, who played Sam (and who was, of course, much older than me). Particularly, the “Oh boy!” at the end of each episode got me; I was smitten, with cuteness overload.
Anyway, I started watching re-runs of it recently, and was even more smitten than the first time around. For, you see, with more life experience, I think I understood it better. And I think, it was something that I needed more than ever, at this point in my life (47, is supposed to be the most difficult age in life).
It was the injection in the butt, which I needed. What could we do, if we could go back in time and do things differently?
What would I have done?
1) I would have walked out of my parents’ home at 18, and never looked back. Would it have meant, that I missed either of my parents’ funerals? I missed my mother’s funeral, anyway. My mother cut both me and my father out of her life, 5 years before she died. She also ruined my own marriage, through her various machinations and behaviour. Dealing with her over the years, was like having teeth pulled, slowly. All my trying to appease “family”, was a waste of time; because none of them were ever interested in me. Family, was clearly never my destiny. I could have saved myself, all of that, and perhaps, put my efforts, into building myself what I never had, instead of attempting to flog a dead horse, where there was never going to be anything forthcoming, anyway.
Yes, I would have done that. The thing is, that my confidence had been so beaten down by that point (I was a shell, of what I could have been), that striking out on my own, seemed more impossible than it would have been at 14. Where was "Al", when I needed him?
2) I would have had my fibroids removed, long before they became troublesome. In my 30s, I still had a figure like a birch tree. My stomach was practically concave. That was, before my fibroids started growing. They started, as a couple of big lumps which were visible through the skin of my stomach when I lay down - and which, now, have developed to the size of a 22-week pregnancy, and have impacted my health. The trouble was, that unlike my mother who didn’t work, and didn’t have to, I could never have taken time off, in order to have an operation. My generation (X) was not afforded that luxury. We had to be on call, at all times.
3) I would not have got married. I got married because I wanted love, and hadn’t experienced very much of that in my life, at that point. Perhaps I was looking for it in the wrong place; at any rate, had I not got married, I’d have kept on course with my plans at the time, and become a biochemist, or materials scientist, rather than an artist or horticulturist. I’d have become some sort of radical dietitian, like Dr. Ron Rosedale - or some sort of eco-warrior, looking to save the planet from ourselves. At this point in time, I'd probably be on the front line.
At this point in time - do I need to take a Quantum Leap? At this point in time, do I need an "Al" (the hologram)? Yes, I damn as hell sure do!
How many of you believe, or are prepared to believe, in spiritual guidance? Would you laugh at me, for what I am about to tell you? Could you cope with seeing this kind of thing on the TV, but not actually believe that it exists in real life?
Do you know that when we die, most of us spend some time (considerable time, in some cases) floating around the ether? It’s our job to help other souls, before we ascend for good. Some of us spend a little while. Some of us have to spend a lot longer. Our souls don't die. They're just divested of an earthly body.
The curious thing - is that I have had my deceased grandfather, as a sort of guardian angel, if you like - popping in and out of my life, ever since about 2010-11. He has guided me, my life and my creativity - without interfering particularly - he is simply a presence, who gives his opinion.
People laugh at me when I talk about this sort of thing; but he would say that it was his job to guide me (since, actually I hadn’t had much guidance from family, and hadn’t known either of my grandfathers, since both of them died before I was born - it was nice, even in the spiritual sense, to have known at least one).
He did say to me at one point that he couldn’t be here forever, and that someday I would have to be able to survive on my own. He disappeared for a while - but then realized I needed extra help, and was a fragile person who needed an extra boost. He’s definetely ascended to a higher level, though. I know.
So it is, that I have been watching Quantum Leap, and thinking about some of the difficulties which I have had. I have been thinking, what if I could change everything, which has blighted my life so far - as I have always had to struggle? What if I could change the course of history? It’s not too late, surely?
Several famous astrologers have looked at my chart and sat back, stunned, in visible shock. They have said: “oh my God - you are a Promethean character. You are of the sort, who is seen to have stolen the fire from the gods!”
But what if we took another, wholly different approach? A much less fatalistic approach? What if we appreciated, that this world, which we perceive, or which is presented to us, is not all there is? That tomorrow is indeed another day? That one can divorce oneself from one’s toxic family, even if it is 30 years too late? That one can smash illness, and send it back to where it came from? That one can turn our fortunes around? That we can indeed walk away from tragedy, to a better life?
The stars do not determine; they only presume. There is such a thing as free will. Wickedness, and death, do NOT need to prevail. Strength, and positivity CAN overcome evil. It’s like the hymns we sang at school - only, much better.
It’s the Quantum Leap! Make things, and break them!